This provides a cost-effective route to a successful and even rapid recovery, but it is at this key moment marketing budgets are often cut, in the process undoing many months or years of hard work. If a firm lowers its profile, is less visible and appears less confident in its abilities to understand and respond to a post Covid world, why would they be front of mind as a future business partner?
I have a case study in very different circumstances, but no less relevant, from investment management. Back in the early 2000s I was the Institutional Marketing Director for Schroders and times were tough. We had made our first loss in a 200-year history, investment performance was bad, ‘balanced’ (multi-asset) investment management was being replaced by a more specialist approach and assets poured out of the door. Our response? Increased quality and quantity of communications to clients and to the wider marketplace, raising our visibility through events, external conferences and media engagement (no social media then!). As a sales and marketing team, we had to be confident in representing Schroders through the criticisms, explaining what we had learnt from our travails and how we were adapting new solutions for clients as we looked to the future. The impact? A floor was placed under our market share, we gained respect and stayed in the game when many competitors shrank from external engagement and disappeared from view, some almost literally, business-wise. The calibre and importance of sales and marketing communications teams is often most evident in such challenging times.
Tailored communications for clients, thoughtful research, careful and sensitive engagement with conventional and social media are all key to rebuilding or strengthening businesses after a crisis, whether it be a generic one or specific to an individual company. With considerate messaging, it raises your profile constructively, shows you understand and are able to clearly navigate your business in a tough environment and that you care about your underlying clients or potential clients in terms of the pressures they face. It builds on past actions, cumulatively leveraging past marketing communications initiatives and therefore avoiding waste from such former expenditure.
The pandemic of 2020 is terrible. It is mostly unique, but ironically not from a marketing communications perspective. Maintaining your public profile is as relevant as ever in helping ensure a successful post crisis recovery.